REVIEW: New editions of 1962 altar missals

I was recently sent a beautiful reprint of  Benziger Brother’s 1962 Missale Romanum.  It is from from Preserving Christian Publications.  This is a fine book, beautifully bound, and very useful.

I am so grateful to have it, since my original 1962 edition is showing some wear.  I will remember to pray for the intention of the one who sent it.

I wrote about this edition before, here and about the Vatican edition here.  (I still want one of the those spiffy Vatican volumes.)

I recently had the chance to compare this reprint edition, from Preserving Christian Publications, side by side with the reprint by the Vatican Press of the typical edition.  I used them on alternating days for a week.

The photos are from my iPhone in a poorly lit sacristy, but they more than suffice.

PCP on the left. Vatican on the right.

PCP edition.

PCP has differently colored ribbon.

Vatican edition, all the ribbons are red.

PCP on the left, Vatican on the right.

PCP… that is an American dime for perspective.



The PCP, since it is the Benziger edition, has supplemental texts in the back for the USA.  The Vatican edition doesn’t have that, of course.

PCP has special prefaces.

Here is the PCP edition art style.

The Vatican’s art style.

Included in the back of the PCP edition was a loose sheet which has an adhesive edge with a strip you can remove so as to fix it into the book.  It is of the Tabella Temporaria Festorum Mobilium.

It includes dates up to and including…

I think most of the “discontinuity and rupture people” will be long gone by then.   Actually, much sooner than that.

Tick by tick.

Heh heh heh.

Finally… I lately used both editions, alternating days, at the altar for Mass.   Found that the PCP edition laid open a little better, but that my be because it had been in use a little longer.  My new edition lies open well.


Brick by brick.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Ossus says:

    Fr Z,

    I actually have an original Benziger altar missal from 1943 and it looks like it is identical in style, typeface, art, etc… to that ’62 reprint (obviously excepting the changes made to the Canon, et al).

    I think the ribbons on mine, while multi-colored, are not as colorful as the reprint, and the IHS monogram on the front outside cover is more squared instead of round. The Crucifixion image on the page opposite of the Te Igituir is identical.

    Looks like they kept the same style and simply updated it to reflect the pertinent liturgical reforms.

  2. jbas says:

    If only someone would print a travel missal!

  3. was actually just on the Pax Book website.

    jbas: Pax Book also has a Missal Romanum priced at US$89.10 in addition to their US$334.00 Missal Romanum for actual liturgical use. It is smaller than the one reviewed by Fr. Z. I have a 1934 misssal of a similar size, though I do not recall the publisher and do not have easy access to it right now.

  4. JohnMa says:


    Someone has already done so. The Executive Director of the ICEL has a very nice travel missal that he uses to offer the EF.

  5. RichR says:

    EGAD! That last photo is an eye sore WRT cover art. Why on earth are we still seeing 1970’s clip art in OF altar missals? Can’t we get some of the inspiring, intricate woodcarvings and fonts of the ICEL Liturgy of the Hours……oh wait……

  6. Philippus says:

    PCP wins my vote. Beautiful Missal indeed. On another note, does anyone know where I can get sacred artwork .jpgs(or engraved art images) on the web for inserts into my home made prayer booklets?



  7. revs96 says:

    @Philippus: there’s a big gallery here via MusicaSacra:

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    Is the PCP edition a photo-reproduction, or was it typeset?

  9. TJerome says:

    Benzinger Brothers does beautiful work. I still have their “Missa Pro Defunctorum” which is absolutely exquisite!

  10. Kathy C says:


    Would you be willing or able to share your prayer booklets?

  11. albinus1 says:

    Will the reprints start to incorporate Pope Benedict’s revision, a few years ago, to the traditional Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews?

  12. Andy Milam says:

    We use the Benzinger (PCP) version in Des Moines. I am now curious to see how the Vatican edition would work from the Master of Ceremony POV. Thank you for posting the two editions Father.

  13. Philippus says:

    Thanks revs96!

    And sure Kathy C.

  14. boko fittleworth says:

    “[M]y original 1962 edition is showing some wear.” Would that more priests could say this. God bless you. Father.

  15. Gail F says:

    I love that PCP black and white art, does anyone know the source? Does anyone know if there are CDs of this or similar art available for purchase? The Picasa album from the music society is lovely but they are not high-res.

  16. Stephen Matthew says:

    The florescent green (I hope a trick of the light and/or camera optics) in that last picture is particuallarly unsetteling.

    This reminds me I really must move the project of dusting off my mother’s old Liber to a higher spot on my to do list.

  17. The Cobbler says:

    Something clicked seeing all those ribbons.

    Is there a _memory aid_ for beginners to see each of them as having certain meanings? Because one of the most intimidating things to me, on the occassions I’ve had to handle a breviary (I’m buying an old one when I have spare change, but I’m a starving college student right now), is having to jump to two or three different places and back over the course of either Mass or LotH and having no way whatsoever of remembering, even for the duration of the affair, that the ribbon of x color is for the Propers, as if I remembered where along the road the Propers are (I know _what_ they are, but I’m not exactly running the show normally, I gotta say), and so on and so forth. I’ve probably mentioned this before to someone, but what occured to me just now bears bringing up even if that was a slight repition for context. If there were some childish way of putting the parts in order and naming the ribbons memorably for each, on the other hand… and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is and I just have never heard of it; the waysome people talk, there used to be a mnemonic for _everything_… Well, I for one would be helped, and I wonder how many people who unlike myself never planned on learning stuff like LotH even if it’s hard would do so if they knew it would be that much easier.

  18. Andy Milam says:

    @ The Cobbler,

    “Is there a _memory aid_ for beginners to see each of them as having certain meanings?”

    No. Use is the only thing. Same thing applies for the Missale Romanum. Use.

  19. jarthurcrank says:

    We can’t get rid of that 70s stick art soon enough. I shudder to ask whether hidden hands at Vox Clara are going to insist on keeping the old stick art.

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